Maddie’s gotten into the habit of pointing out every little insect in our house (and outside too) and declaring, “bug!” Usually, she hopes for Mommy or Daddy to take care of it. Often, that means grabbing a tissue, grabbing and squashing the bug. Then she’d proudly declare, “All done!” on our behalf, and escort us to the trash where we can throw it away.
A couple of nights ago we were eating dinner, and Maddie finished before us, so we let her go. Naturally, she surveyed the floorboards until she found a two-millimeter spider crouching in the crevice. The Bug Alert was sounded, and Mommy and Daddy were expected to jump into action.
Well, we weren’t done with dinner. So we explained that that particular spider was a good bug, and we should all leave it alone.
That didn’t fool Maddie. She ran off. To the bathroom. And came bounding back with a wad of toilet paper in her little hand. She tried to hand it to Mommy. Mommy pretended to be too interested in her food. Maddie tried to hand the wad to Daddy. I said, “No, Baby. If you want the bug killed, you’re going to have to do it yourself.”
So she faced the tiny monster. Squatted down and held out the wad in the general direction of the spider. She stared at it for a few seconds, got a full body shiver, and stood back up. She offered the wad to us again.
Well, we loved that. So I pushed further. “That’s right honey. You kill it. Mommy and Daddy are busy.” And Maddie gave it another go. She faced her foe, and inched towards it with the wad of tissue paper held at arm’s length.
Poor little spider never saw it coming. Squoosh. Maddie got it on her first try. Her Mommy and I erupted into cheers! I took the dirty wad, and threw it away for her. But Maddie got all the positive reinforcement she needed.
The very next day, we caught her scoping out the floorboards armed with a wad of fresh toilet paper. She was hunting. We’d awakened the killer within.